Workplace safety laws being used inappropriately to restrict right to protest
21st Feb 2020
The unprecedented use of workplace safety laws to try to curtail the right to protest is very concerning said the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), following the news that the Bob Brown Foundation has been threatened with fines by WorkSafe.
“There is simply no evidence that work place safety has been jeopardised by these protests,” said Mr Greg Barns, Tasmanian barrister and ALA spokesperson.
“This is a misuse of government power and seems to be an unprincipled attempt to work around the fact that the government’s anti-protest laws were found to be unconstitutional by the High Court in 2017.
“This government seems determined to find a way to scare people away from expressing their views.”
Further anti-protest laws were tabled in Tasmanian parliament in November 2019.
“The functional impact of the new Bill was the same as the legislation that was declared invalid by the High Court,” said Mr Fabiano Cangelosi, barrister and Tasmanian State President, ALA. “The legislation was too broadly cast, too limited in its consideration of civil and political rights and too harsh in its penalties.
“A democracy relies on people getting involved, speaking up and engaging in robust debate. This helps to hold our governments and businesses to account.